Jewish Life Update Week Three: It’s Not Fair!

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It’s Not Fair! And we can change that.

This week we gave one camper a candy bar and served six children a delicious breakfast of yogurt, fruit, cereal, and milk. A small group of campers served themselves some fruit and cereal, and most of the children sat on the floor with dry rice cereal. It wasn’t fair. 

While half of the Ofarim campers were participating in a multi-camp sports competition called the Kiddush Cup, we ran a special program based on the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, which graphically teaches the distribution of hunger and poverty in the world. Food is distributed in ratios based on the food distribution in the world. Campers related hunger to the causes they have been investigating in preparation for a camp-wide Tzedakah Fair that they will run next week – poverty, environment, and discrimination.

One of our faculty members translates “tzedakah” not as “charity” but as “restorative justice.” The Hebrew word tzedakah is derived from the root for the word just. This communicates the value that it is our obligation to repair the world’s injustices represented in the unequal distribution of resources. 

The good news is that since the Hunger Banquet was designed, some things have changed, and some have stayed the same. In the early 90s, over 18% of the world was undernourished. Today, that number has dropped to just under 11%. Almost all of those people live in developing countries. Since we have started learning about the three causes above for the Tzedakah Fair, the statistics have improved in each. The Jewish text from Pirke Avot quoted in our mission statement is brought home as campers highlight organizations important to them: “You are not required to complete the work, nor are you free to ignore it.” Our work can make a difference.

Every Shabbat, our campers lead t’fillot for the entire camp community. This week, Chalutzim lead our Friday evening service and Chaverim lead Shabbat morning with 8 Torah readers! Here are this week’s featured camper readings from the t’fillot:

Here in the 21st century, we are faced with many problems. Problems passed down from older generations, and problems we create ourselves. Outside the Eisner bubble we are taught to face problems head on. While this is needed, this is only part of “being camp”. In this unit, we learn to turn our faces away from the bad, and face toward the good.

Sometimes, just giving the smallest gesture can make a big impact. One time, my friend wanted a chocolate chip pancake, and I got one, so I gave her mine. It made her happy and it made me feel helpful.

When everything is hopeless, and nothing is going your way, it’s good to stay positive because things could always get better. Don’t focus on the bad things, focus on the good things. Think about what being upset can do for you – Nothing! So stay happy, and be positive! 

Today is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. I know you probably thing that this is off topic, but it isn’t. What do you see when you look up at the moon? I did my research and asked around, and some of the answers I got were either “a crater” or “a white blob”. But you don’t think about all of the effort, time, and people that it took to get somebody to the moon 50 years ago. This is a case of only half turning our faces.

This is how we turn our faces to the good. Shabbat Shalom Eisner Camp!!

 – By Adrian, Eva, Julia, & Brayden (Chalutzim)


The Sh’ma is about oneness. There are many ways we can be one with camp and the people here.

The diversity at camp makes the oneness stronger.

We all have our own sacred spots at camp that are Holy to us. Mine is adventure, because that is where I climbed the wall for my first time and felt such a sense of accomplishment when I got to the top and looked over at the rest of camp. It made that place Holy to me.

My Holy place is the Beit Am because that is where I first passed the Torah in Bonim.

My Holy place is the Beit T’fillah because it is where I feel closest to God.

My Holy place is the bunk because so many memories and friendships are made there. The bunk is Holy to be because of all the friends I made there.

Even though we have our own specific Holy places, camp in total is Holy to all of us.

Please rise for the Sh’ma.    

– By Phoebe, Julia, Stella, & Jordan (Chaverim)